How Thunder Bay, Ont.’s increasingly toxic street drugs are driving overdose and death rates – CBC

Over half of the supposed cocaine samples tested last month didn’t contain cocaine

Feb 28, 2023

It’s a record they never hoped to break, and it’s setting the tone for another turbulent year of fighting the opioid crisis in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Last month, Path 525 — the only safe consumption site in northwestern Ontario — responded to 38 overdoses. It’s the most the site has ever handled in a single month since it opened in November 2018.

“It was a very difficult month for the community,” said Jennifer Lawrance, director of health services for NorWest Community Health Centres, which runs Path 525.

At safe consumption sites, people can use illicit drugs they’ve purchased on the streets, in the presence of health-care professionals who can help address and reverse any overdoses.

In the four years Path 525 has been open, no one has died of an overdose on site.

But Path 525 responded to 67 per cent more overdoses in 2022 compared to the previous year.

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